The octagenerian, Vimla Kaul has been working relentlessly since she retired as a government school teacher close to 25 years ago.
All the children that come to Vimal ji’s school are from the surrounding slum area whose parents mostly employed as maids or drivers, serving nearby in the lower middle-class housing colonies. Students are taught all the subjects, like English, Science, Mathematics etc. The school has one working computer that offers basic technical education and also offers extra-curricular activities including Yoga.
“Many government schools do children a disservice. They don’t teach them properly, and then follow a no-detention policy. What you are left with are teenagers who can’t construct a basic sentence in either English or Hindi,” Mrs. Kaul told BBC. “We don’t turn anyone away, but we hold an entrance test to evaluate the standard of the child, and if they perform poorly at class examinations we hold them back. The main thing is to teach them properly,” she added.
The school is called Guldasta and was founded by Mrs. Kaul alongside her husband HM Kaul in 1993, who later died in 2009. “My husband and I had both just retired. We decided to do something charitable, but were not quite sure what,” said Mrs. Kaul. They found the direction during a visit to the village of Madanpur Khadar, which is an hour’s journey away from Delhi.